A Chinese regional military analyst said that in the next few months Beijing will start using its new runways in the disputed Spratlys archipelago for military operations and will place Chinese fighter jet used to intercept foreign aircraft.
The People’s Liberation Army, Naval Air Force in the next few months will most likely start in putting up 2 to 3 squadrons of Shenyang-J11 and Chengdu-J10 Chinese fighter jet on the reclaimed 3,000-meter runway built on the disputed Fiery Cross Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
The Shenyang J-11 is a single-seat, twin-engine, jet fighter, whose airframe is based on the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighter. It is currently manufactured by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation of China (PRC). It is intended as a direct competitor to Western fourth generation fighters such as the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, and the Grumman F-14 Tomcat.
The Chengdu J-10 “Vigorous Dragon or Firebird” is a lightweight single engine multirole fighter aircraft capable of all-weather operation, configured with a delta wing and canard design, with fly-by-wire flight controls, and produced by the People’s Republic of China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).
Military analyst added that their analysis confirms after Beijing since last month tested to land several civilian airliners from Hainan island on the reclaimed runway.
Meanwhile, a senior United States naval officer said on Monday that any move by China to position and fly jet fighters from runways to its new man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea would not deter US flights over the area.
The commander of the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, urged Beijing to be more open about its intentions in the South China Sea, saying it would relieve “some of the angst we are now seeing”.
“We are unsure where they are taking us,” Aucoin said of China’s recent moves during a briefing with journalists in Singapore.
“So we are going to sail, fly, operate throughout these waters….like we have been doing for so long,” including “flying over that airspace.” he said.
We just want them to respect those rights so that we can all continue to prosper,” he said.
“It’s an establishing uncertainty,” he said when asked about the impact of possible Chinese jet fighter patrols. He said it would raise questions about the intentions.
Chinese warships and civilian vessels routinely flank US naval ships in the area, but Aucoin said engagement between the two navies would continue, saying the relationship was “positive”.
“International Law of the Sea has helped (China) for so many years. We just want them to respect those rights so that we can all continue to prosper,” he said.- R. Beerlak/Reuters